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Mercy Sisters unveil lost painting of foundress

By Ann Marie Foley - 27 September, 2013

0550mercyinternational9thoct (2)Mercy Day this week was celebrated by the unveiling a previously undiscovered portrait of Mother Catherine McAuley which was painted by a contemporary of the foundress who was a renowned artist within the congregation.

When Danielle Hicks-Gallagher took on the task of bringing Sr M. Clare Augustine Moore’s manuscripts into the digital sphere she made an unexpected discovery.

She had agreed to the task for the joy and inspiration of being able to spend time with beautiful pieces of art.

“I certainly did not expect the gift of discovering a portrait of our dear Catherine McAuley, by the hand of one who knew and loved her,” she stated.

When she begun working on the illuminated Rule and Constitution of the Religious Sisters of Mercy she found that nearly every page has uniquely different illustrations and borders.

Among the illustrations were those of the significant saints and figures that played a role in either patronage of the Church, of the Order, of the country and in the creation of the Rule.

But there was also a portrait of Catherine McAuley she discovered.

So this week, as communities all over the globe have been celebrating Mercy Day (24th September), they had double reason to celebrate with the unveiling of the portrait which they believe depicts Catherine McAuley.

At ‘Catherine’s House’ as the sisters call the Mercy International Association premises on Baggot Street, Dublin, there was a gathering of the global Mercy family.

CMCASisters, Associates, Partners in Ministry, Friends of Mercy came from places such as Ireland and Great Britain as well as more far flung locations such as Newfoundland, United States, Australia and Africa.

Thanks to modern technology, thousands were united in the 45 countries where the Mercy family minister, particularly as they celebrated the Eucharist. Greetings from all over the world were posted on the website. 

Mercy Day is a celebration of the day in 1827 when Mercy founder Catherine McAuley opened a school in Dublin for homeless girls and women.

At the end of this month, 29th September 2013, a symposium on ‘Gathering the Harvest of Catherine’s Faith, Hope and Love’ is being held in Charleville, Co Cork.

This is the second symposium on Catherine that has been held in Ireland in recent years. The previous one was held in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan in 2009.

Ireland is not the only place that host symposia on an aspect of the life and holiness of Catherine McAuley.

Last April a symposium on Catherine was held in Sydney at which collaborators, co-workers and associates as well as Sisters of Mercy attended in unprecedented numbers. The same can be said about the symposium held in Auckland, New Zealand for board members of Mercy Works.

See: www.mercyworld.org

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